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Feb. 28, 2007

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No. 21 Ohio State
at
2007 Big Ten Wrestling Championships
March 3-4
Hosted by Michigan State University
Jack Breslin Student Events Center (14,759)
East Lansing, Mich.

Saturday, March 3
11 a.m. – Session I
Through quarterfinals and consolation first round
6 p.m. – Session II
Through championship semifinals and up to consolation semifinals

Sunday, March 4
Noon – Session III
Consolation semifinals
2 p.m. – Big Ten Championships Finals
Championship, third and fifth-place matches

COLUMBUS, Ohio – The No. 21 Ohio State wrestling team will begin postseason action when it travels to East Lansing, Mich., Saturday and Sunday for the 2007 Big Ten Wrestling Championships in the Jack Breslin Student Events Center. Michigan State will serve as the host school for the event that will crown a Big Ten Conference team champion, as well as a titleholder for each of the 10 weight classes. The Top 7 finishers in each division will qualify for the 2007 NCAA Division I Wrestling Championships in Detroit March 15-17.

The Buckeyes finished the Big Ten regular season tied for fourth with Indiana after posting an 8-7 overall record and a 4-4 mark in the league.

2007 PRE-SEEDS
The Big Ten Conference announced the preliminary seeding for the league championships Monday. The Top 8 seeds were determined by a vote amongst the head coaches of the conference after consideration of regular-season results. The official championship bracket will be announced Friday.

A pair of freshmen in Lance Palmer and Mike Pucillo leads the Buckeye contingent as No. 3 seeds at 149 and 184 pounds, respectively. Palmer, one of three Buckeyes to tally 20 or more wins during the regular season, finished the 2006-07 campaign on a six-match win streak to compile a 26-11 overall record, including a 7-1 mark in the conference. One of those Big Ten wins included a 6-4 overtime decision against second-ranked Josh Churella of Michigan Feb. 11.

Pucillo owns a 19-1 record, with his lone loss coming against No. 1 Jake Herbert of Northwestern Feb. 4. Prior to his only defeat, Pucillo won 16-consecutive matches in his first year as a Buckeye, including the 184-pound title at the 25th annual Cliff Keen Las Vegas Invitational in December. In all, Pucillo has faced eight ranked wrestlers, compiling a 7-1 mark.

At 197 pounds, J.D. Bergman earned a No. 4 seed. After missing last season because of injury, Bergman returns to the Big Ten championships after finishing second in 2005 and fifth in 2004. Like Palmer, Bergman finished the 2006-07 regular season with 20 wins (20-6). One of his victories came against No. 2 Mike Tamillow of Northwestern, finishing with a 5-3 record in the conference.

Chris Vondruska is the fifth seed at 165 pounds. Vondruska leads the Buckeyes in wins with 28, as he is the third and final Buckeye to end the regular season with more than 20 victories. He began his OSU career with a third-place finish in the Eastern Michigan Open and the Las Vegas Invitational. From Dec. 17, 2006- Feb. 2, 2007, Vondruska went on a nine-match win streak. Vondruska was the Colonial Athletic Association champion at 165 pounds last season.

Finishing sixth in the Big Ten championships last year at 149 pounds, J Jaggers returns as the No. 7 seed at 141 pounds. Jaggers capped an 18-16 Buckeye rally against No. 10 Northwestern Feb. 4 in Lakewood, Ohio, when he defeated James Kohlberg, 7-5, in the final bout. The OSU win gave the Scarlet and Gray its third-consecutive win over a ranked opponent and fourth overall in 2006-07.

T.J. Enright and Corey Morrison are the eighth seeds at 133 and 285 pounds, respectively. Enright scored one of the biggest wins of his collegiate career when he defeated No. 1 Nick Simmons of Michigan State, 4-2, in sudden victory Feb. 2 in Columbus, Ohio. The win helped propel the Buckeyes to a 19-14 victory over the 19th-ranked Spartans.

Morrison’s wins over Big Ten foes David Pisarcik of Purdue, Josh Buuck of Indiana and Alan O’Donnell of Michigan State helped the Buckeyes to wins in each of those matches in Columbus.

BUCKEYE CHAMPIONSHIPS HISTORY
Four Buckeyes in T.J. Enright (133), J Jaggers (141), Jason Johnstone (157) and J.D. Bergman (197) all have made previous appearances in the Big Ten championships, while Chris Vondruska (165), who transferred from Hofstra, competed in the Colonial Athletic Association championships.

Enright competed in 2005 at 133 pounds and in 2006 he wrestled at 141 pounds. In 2005, Enright finished sixth to qualify for the NCAA championships. Wrestling at 149 pounds in 2006, Jaggers finished sixth to advance to his first NCAA championships. As a freshman, Johnstone was a 141-pound entry. Bergman is a two-time Big Ten championships participant, finishing second in 2005 and fifth in 2004. Bergman earned All-America accolades in 2004 after finishing third in the national championships. Vondruska was the CAA champion last season.

2007 Big Ten Championships Entries
125 – Will Livingston (16-18; 2-6 Big Ten)
133 – T.J. Enright (11-6: 4-4 Big Ten)
141 – J Jaggers (14-6; 5-3 Big Ten)
149 – Lance Palmer (26-11: 7-1 Big Ten)
157 – Jason Johnstone (18-17; 2-6 Big Ten)
165 – Chris Vondruska (28-12; 4-4 Big Ten)
174 – Tommy Priestley (4-9; 1-5 Big Ten)
184 – Mike Pucillo (19-1; 7-1 Big Ten)
197 – J.D. Bergman (20-6; 5-3 Big Ten)
285 – Corey Morrison (15-16; 3-5 Big Ten)

HOW TO GET THERE
Tickets to the 2007 Big Ten Wrestling Championships can be purchased at Michigan State University’s ticket office at 517-355-1610.

Ticket Prices
Adult Single Session – $10
Student Single Session – $5
Adult All Session – $30
Student All Session – $15
Adult Final Session – $20
Student Final Session -$10

ON THE AIR
A tape delay broadcast of day two of the championships will air on College Sports Television (CSTV) at 8 p.m. March 7. CSTV will re-air the broadcast at 11 p.m. March 7 and 6 a.m. March. 9.

LIVE RESULTS
Live bracket updates will be available on the official 2007 Big Ten Wrestling Championships Web site at www.msuspartans.com.

IN THE BIG TEN
In 85 years as a member of the Big Ten Conference, the Buckeyes have compiled a 223-307-17 ledger during the regular season.

ONLY THE BEST
Ohio State owned one of the toughest schedules in the Big Ten Conference, taking on nine teams that were ranked in the Top 25 of the USA Today/InterMat/NWCA poll. At the time of competition, five of the Buckeyes’ opponents were in the Top 10 (Missouri-No. 3, Illinois- No. 7, Cornell-No. 9, Iowa-No. 10 and Northwestern-No. 10).

NOT TO BE OVERLOOKED
Ohio State defeated its third-consecutive ranked opponent after beating then-No. 10 Northwestern, 18-16, Feb. 4 and its fourth overall. Prior to the upset over the Wildcats, the Buckeyes bettered No. 19 Michigan State, 19-14, (Feb. 2), No. 16 Indiana, 19-14, (Jan. 28) and No. 9 Cornell, 18-17, (Nov. 26).

MAKE IT 110
Tom Ryan earned his 110th career victory with the Buckeyes’ 18-17 win over Cornell Nov. 26. Ryan gathered his first win as the head coach of the Scarlet and Gray, while his other 109 wins came at Hofstra, where he was the head coach for 11 seasons. Ryan’s career record is 117-90-1.

BUCKEYES IN THE STANDINGS
In the latest edition of the USA Today/InterMat/NWCA Coaches’ Poll (Feb. 20), four Buckeyes are ranked in the Top 20. At 149 pounds, Lance Palmer is 16th and at 165 pounds, Chris Vondruska is 17th. Mike Pucillo continues to hold down the No. 3 spot at 184 pounds, while classmate J.D. Bergman No. 10 at 197 pounds.

CONFERENCE LAURELS
Mike Pucillo and T.J. Enright earned Big Ten Wrestler of the Week honors during the regular season. Pucillo was the first OSU honoree (Dec. 4), capturing the award after finishing first in the 184-pound division at the 25th annual Cliff Keen Las Vegas Invitational Dec. 1-2. A redshirt freshman who transferred from Hofstra, Pucillo defeated Top 4 opponents Raymond Jordan of Missouri (No. 4) and Tyrel Todd of Michigan (No. 3) in the semifinal and championship bouts en route to the title.

Enright garnered the laurel Feb. 5 after producing one of the more memorable wins of his collegiate career. Enright (133) began the weekend with a 4-2 sudden victory over No. 1 Nick Simmons of Michigan State in Columbus, Ohio, to help propel the Buckeyes to a 19-14 upset over the No. 10 Spartans. He again was at the center of a dramatic win for OSU, as he defeated Eric Metzler of Northwestern, 7-2, to pull the Scarlet and Gray within one point (16-15) with one match left at 141 pounds. Classmate J Jaggers won a 7-5 decision and the Buckeyes rallied for the 18-16 win over the No. 10 Wildcats in Lakewood, Ohio.

LAS VEGAS INVITATIONAL CHAMPION
Redshirt-freshman Mike Pucillo won the 184-weight class at the 25th annual Cliff Keen Las Vegas Invitational Dec. 1-2 in Primm, Nev. Pucillo recorded two major decisions and a fall en route to the semifinal where he defeated No. 4 Raymond Jordan of Missouri, 3-1. In the championship bout against Michigan’s and No. 3 Tyrel Todd, Pucillo notched a 12-6 victory for the title.

Pucillo became the first Buckeye to win a title at the event since assistant coach Tommy Rowlands won in 2003 at heavyweight.

BERGMAN FINISHES SECOND AT SCUFFLE
J.D. Bergman captured a second-place finish at the 2006 Southern Scuffle in Greensboro, N.C., Dec. 29-30, 2006. Bergman, who wrestled at 197 pounds, had an impressive outing on day one of the event, recording two falls and a major decision en route to the quarterfinals. The following day, Bergman notched a decision to advance to the semifinals where he was slated to meet No. 2 seed and nationally No. 2-ranked Jerry Rinaldi of Cornell. However, Rinaldi was forced to take a medical forfeit and that set up a rematch between Bergman and No. 1 seed and top ranked Max Askren of Missouri. After leading 2-1 going into the third period, Askren pinned Bergman in 5:48.

LIVING THE HIGH LIFE
True freshman Will Livingston (125) was one of six Buckeyes to go undefeated with a 3-0 record at the 18th annual Wendy’s Big Classic Jan. 21 in Ashland, Ohio. Livingston helped Ohio State to a perfect day and a season-high 30 team points vs. Appalachian State. He was the only competitor in a field of seven teams to shut out all three of his opponents, which included an 11-0 major decision against Ashland’s Ryan Belcher. It was back in 2001 Ohio State had a pair of redshirt freshmen go undefeated at the Wendy’s Classic, one of whom was Buckeye assistant coach Tommy Rowlands. The week before the classic (Jan. 14), Livingston earned his first-career Big Ten Conference win, beating Purdue’s Brandon Tucker, 3-0, for the first of his four-consecutive shutouts.

UPSET CITY, BABY!
T.J. Enright was no stranger to upsetting top-ranked wrestlers when he beat No. 1 Nick Simmons of Michigan State, 4-2, in sudden victory Feb. 2. During his freshman campaign in 2004-05, Enright defeated then-No. 4 Sam Hiatt of Northern Illinois in the Michigan State Open (Nov. 21, 2004) and in Big Ten Conference dual action in 2005, he upset then-No. 3 Mack Reiter of Minnesota (Feb. 13, 2005).

Junior J.D. Bergman continued the upset trend during the weekend against Northwestern when he beat second-ranked Mike Tamillow at 197 pounds, 4-2.

Lance Palmer followed those two acts with an impressive win of his own over No. 2 Josh Churella (6-4 2TB) of Michigan Feb. 11.

GOING DOWN TO THE WIRE
For the second time in his OSU career, T.J. Enright produced the winning points for Ohio State in the final bout. With the Buckeyes down, 17-15, against No. 9 Cornell going into the concluding match at 133 pounds, Enright tallied a 5-3 decision over Nick Bridge to give Ohio State the 18-17 victory. It was nearly the same scenario for Enright and the Buckeyes during the 2004-05 season. Enright recorded a 7-2 win over Bloomsburg’s Joe Hassenman to lift the Scarlet and Gray over the Huskies by the same 18-17 margin at the Buckeye Duals in St. John Arena.

Classmate J Jaggers’ 7-5 win over Northwestern’s James Kohlberg in the deciding match at 141 pounds completed Ohio State’s rally for the 18-16 victory over the 10th-ranked Wildcats.

WE’RE GOING STREAKING
Chris Vondruska tallied a nine-match win streak from Dec. 17, 2006-Feb. 2, 2007. In that period, Vondruska knocked off 14th-ranked Max Dean of Indiana, 2-1, in overtime.

J Jaggers owned a six-match win streak from Jan. 14-28, defeating three conference and nonconference rivals. During that span, Jaggers recorded two major decisions and a fall en route to a 12-3 overall record.

Lance Palmer completed the regular season on a six-match win streak, finishing with a 26-11 overall record.

20-SOMETHINGS
J.D. Bergman, Lance Palmer and Chris Vondruska posted 20 or more wins during the 2006-07 regular season. Bergman recorded a 20-6 overall record, including a 5-3 mark in the Big Ten. Palmer garnered 26 wins (11 losses) and owned a 7-1 ledger in the conference. Vondruska led the Scarlet and Gray with 28 wins (12 losses), which included a 4-4 league record. His 28 wins surpassed his personal-best of 25 wins he compiled last season at Hofstra.

JUST A NUMBER
Redshirt freshman Mike Pucillo (184) has faced eight ranked opponents in 2006-07 and has compiled a 7-1 record against his Top 20 rivals. Pucillo began the season with a 16-0 record before losing his first match to No. 1 Jake Herbert of Northwestern Feb. 4.

In dual action, seven of J.D. Bergman’s 15 opponents were ranked in the Top 20. He went up against five ranked wrestlers in January and February and overall finished with a 9-3 record in those two months.

EXPANDED COVERAGE
The NCAA and ESPN announced in October expanded live television coverage of the 2007 NCAA Division I Wrestling Championships March 15-17 in Auburn Hills, Mich.

For the first time, in the 77-year history of the Division I Wrestling Championships, the Saturday morning medal round will be televised. Scheduled for 10 a.m. EST March 17 on ESPNU, the championships medal round determines the third through eighth place finishers who are honored as All-Americans.

The 2007 championships are March 15-17 at the Palace of Auburn Hills in Auburn Hills, Mich. The University of Michigan and the Detroit Metro Sports Commission will serve as hosts.

Tickets for the 2007 championships are available by visiting http://www.detroitsports.org/wrestling/tickets/index.html.

UP NEXT
The University of Michigan and the Detroit Metro Sports Commission will host the 2007 NCAA Division I Wrestling Championships March 15-17 in the Palace of Auburn Hills in Auburn Hills, Mich.